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First : Christ's temper was essentially benevolent. Read His biography, and where can you find one solitary act or single word indicating the malignant? He wished well to all He met,—to the Universe. “He came not to destroy men's lives but to save them." Even His severest reproofs and denunciations were but the bass notes in the harmonies of His essentially loving nature. The blows He struck at the sinner were but to break his chains and set him free.
Secondly : Christ's temper was forgivingly benevolent. Examples of His forgiving love are numerous : The woman in Simon's house. The paralytic. His prayer for His enemies on the cross, &c.
Thirdly : Christ's temper was earnestly benevolent. His benevolence was a burning passion. Mark His earnestness in His invitation,—“ Come unto me all ye that labor," &c. In the great day of the feast Jesus stood and cried, &c. Hear His wail over the doomed City : “O Jerusalem,” &c.
Now this sublime moral temper is identical with the moral temper of the great God of the universe. I look at Christ as He appeared in Judea eighteen centuries ago, and there I see the heart of God. The feelings that Christ displayed towards
my fallen race pulsate in the Infinite. This is a wonderful thought, a soul-elevating truth. Was Christ essentially benevolent ? 80 is the Infinite-He is love. Was Christ forgivingly benevolent ? so is the Infinite-“Come now, and let us reason together," &c. Was Christ earnestly benevolent? so is the Infinite—“Oh Ephraim how shall I give thee up?” &c. Do you want to know how God feels towards you as a sinner ?—The biography of Christ will answer.
IS COMMUNICABLE TO MAN.
II. CHRIST'S MORAL TEMPER “If any man have not the spirit of Christ," &c. This implies that the Spirit is obtainable.
That Christ's moral temper is communicable to man will appear from the following considerations :
First : Man is pre-eminently adapted to receive it. It agrees with his spiritual conformation. He is not formed to
receive evil ;--for evil is incongruous with his constitution, is repugnant to his conscience. The soul is made to receive the inspirations of benevolence, to live in love as its vital atmosphere.
Secondly: Man is pre-eminently in want of this. The moral disposition of Christ is the crying want of humanity ; it is the only Spirit that can expel the demon passions of evil that reign within ; the only Spirit that can snap the chains that fetter his being ; the only Spirit that can light up his soul with truth and blessedness. This moral temper of Christ is to man the light of life.
Thirdly: Man has pre-eminent helps to this. What are the Scriptures, the Life of Christ, the Gospel Ministry, the influences of Heaven, but means to convey to man's heart the moral temper of Christ ? To have this Spirit manfested in our mortal bodies, is to realize the great idea of God in His dealings with us, all through life.
III. CHRIST'S MORAL TEMPER DETERMINES THE CONDITION
“He that hath not the Spirit of Christ is none of bis.”
First: None of His loyal subjects. All who have this disposition delight in His law ;--feel it their meat and drink to do His will.” All others are miserable vassals. They serve Him, but against their will.
Secondly: None of His docile disciples. Love is essential to Christian knowledge. Without this eye, "the whole body full of darkness." Without this, men may be dreamy speculators, captious cavillers, mechanical dogmatists, but not teachable disciples.
Thirdly: None of His loving friends. He that is not with me in this spirit is against me. The want of this constitutes man an enemy to Christ.
Fourthly : None of His co-heirs. Those that have this Spirit sit together with Him now, “heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ.” Christ's life was distinguished by-(1) A subordination of the material to the spiritual.—(2) A subordination of the spiritual to Divine love. They who live thus are " heirs" with Him.
From this subject we learn :-(1) That Christianity is a life. It is not a creed, it is not a form,-it is the life of Christ. (2) That Christianity is a Divine life ;-it comes from God to Christ, from Christ to man. The true Christian is one with
. “ AND WE HAVE GOD HATH TO US. GOD IS LOVE, AND HE THAT DWELLETH IN LOVE DWELLETH IN GOD, AND GOD IN HIM.”
BELIEVED THE LOVE THAT
SUBJECT :—The Unbounded Beneficence of God in the History
of the Christian.
“Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.” -Rom. xv. 13.
Analysis of Homily the Four Hundred and Forty-second.
THERE are three things in this passage which serve to illustrate the wonderful kindness of God to those who are the true disciples of His Son.
I. THE CHARACTER HE ASSUMES TOWARDS THEM.
« God of hope.” In this chapter the apostle speaks of the absolute ONE under two other appellations:--The God of patience, and the God of peace. PATIENCE implies in His universe the existence of something to provoke to indignation. That something is sin. The history of the Almighty towards us, and our race, is a history of patience. PEACE implies benevolence of nature, consciousness of rectitude; and freedom from all anger, remorse, fear, which are necessary
elements of inward commotion and outward war. God is peaceful in Himself. The storms of all the bells in His great universe ruffle not the infinite tranquillity of His nature. He is peace
ful in His aim. The constitution of the universe, the principles of moral law, the mediation of Christ, and the work of the Spirit show, that He desires to diffuse peace throughout this stormy world. He is peaceful in His working. How quietly does He move on, both in the material and spiritual spheres, in accomplishing His sublime decrees.
But in the text He is styled, God of hope ; an appellation more significant than either of the other two, and more interesting to us as sinners. What does it mean? It does not mean that God is the subject of hope. Both God and Satan agree in this, that both are destitute of hope. God is infinitely above hope ; Satan is infinitely below it; this is the glory of the one, it is the degradation of the other.
First : God is the object of hope. It may be necessary here just to define Hope. What is it?
What is it? Is it expectation ? No. We expect sorrow, and death, but we cannot hope for these things. Is it desire ? No. A poor man may desire to live in a mansion, a lost spirit to dwell in heaven, but neither can hope for such things. Put these two things, expectation and desire, together, and then you have hope. Hope is the mind expecting a desirable thing—the expectation of the desirable. Now, this desirable expectation must have an object--that object is God : His favor, society, friendship, are the things to which hope should always point.
Now that God should reveal Himself to us object of hope is a a wonderful exhibition of His love. You know that the mind never points its hopes to a being that it has offended; it always looks to those that it has pleased.
Suppose you were asked to assist an individual in great distress, himself, his wife, and starving little ones in the very lowest depths of poverty; and suppose that you were to recommend him to apply for relief to a gentleman in the neighborhood whom he had grossly injured; What would the poor man be likely to say in answer to the friendly counsel ?—Oh, he would say at once, I can never hope to receive anything from him. I have shamefully treated him, I have robbed, defamed, and injured
him in every way I could.
Had I treated all men as I have treated him, I could have no hope from man. I should die, not only in poverty, but in despair. This would be the natural language of such a man. But here is God, whom the world has injured, revealing Himself as the object of its hope. As though the Eternal were to say—Tell man that although he has transgressed My laws, rebelled against My throne, and defamed My name, that I am still the object of his hope ; to Me he may still look for succor and aid in the wretched circumstances into which he has fallen, “For as the Heavens are higher than the earth.” &c.
Secondly : God is the author of hope. Now, it is one thing for God to reveal Himself to the world as the object of its hope, and another thing for man to cherish hope towards Him. Before man can possess real Christian hope, which is an expectation of the desirable, he must have two things : Ground to expect it and appetite to desire it. (1) Ground to expect it.
We cannot expect anything without some reason. What reason have we to expect that the God of inflexible justice and immaculate purity, the God who hurled angels over the battlements of Heaven, will be favorable to us polluted rebellious beings ? Before we can expect such a thing as this we must have some sound and obvious reason. Thanks be to God He has given us a
firm ground for such an expectation in the atonement of His Son. “God is in Christ reconciling the world unto himself.” 1800 years ago, He, on the hill of Calvary, furnished the world with a thrilling mighty proof that all who seek Him may hope for His favor. Here is the foundation of a sinner's hope--the foundation stone which God hath laid in Zion; as indestructible, as lasting as His throne.
(2) Appetite to desire it. Hope does not consist entirely of expectation, but of desire as well. The reason that there is so little real Christian hope in this world for God's favor, is not because there is not sufficient ground on which to rest our expectation, the atonement of Christ is sufficient